Kenya legalizes polygamy without wife's consent; female MPs storm out in disgust

From BBC News:

Female MPs in Kenya have stormed out of a late-night parliamentary session in a row over the legalisation of polygamy.

The law is intended to bring civil law, where a man is only allowed one wife, into line with customary law, where some cultures allow multiple partners.

But male MPs voted to amend the new marriage bill to allow men to take as many wives as they like without consulting existing spouses. Traditionally, first wives are supposed to give prior approval.

[...] The women walked out in disgust over the matter.

The marriage bill now passes to the president to sign before it becomes law.

[...] "When you marry an African woman, she must know the second one is on the way and a third wife… this is Africa," Kenya's Capital News website quotes [MP Mohammed Junet] as saying.

But female MPs argued that such a decision would affect the whole family, including the financial position of other spouses.

"It behoves you to be man enough to agree that your wife and family should know," Capital News quotes Soipan Tuya, the women's representative from Narok County, as saying.

(Emphases mine. Read the whole article.)

So here in the 21st century, yet another country is going backwards!

The bill does set the minimum age for marriage at 18.

Other proposed reforms were dropped or watered down: bride price payments are still legal, and a woman inherits 30% of matrimonial property after death or divorce.

Tags: Kenya, consent, marriage, polygamy, polygyny, tradition

Views: 42

Replies to This Discussion

Misogyny rules, indeed! Originally, the bill explicitly gave a wife the right to veto the husband adding another wife, but male MPs "overcame party divisions to push through a text that dropped this clause."

What a striking contrast between this kind of patriarchal polygamy, and polyamory (and other forms of ethical nonmonogamy), where partners of all genders are free and empowered, and people have many styles of relationships and networks. (That can include a woman with several men, who might have other partners as well.)

Conversely, quite a few people need and want monogamy. That's OK too.

http://www.atheistnexus.org/group/polyamory

PHE-NOM-EN-AL!  Kenya, insofar as I thought I knew, was reasonably "modern" as regards 21st century social mores and morays, so to see the above headline is as surprising as it is disturbing.  Then too, maybe this is Kenya's way of doing the Social Shuffle:

Two steps forward, one step back...

I married a Kenyan here in the US. We divorced before he took another wife. I wonder, if I'd stayed with him and moved to Kenya, would it have been legal for him to take a second wife without consulting me?

At this point, I'd say all bets are OFF ... and if I were you, I'd kick his sorry nuts through his nostrils, and I would NOT apologize afterward!

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